Is it too soon to mention the C word?…….I hope not! I try to make my Christmas cake by mid October and have been using Delia’s Classic Christmas Cake recipe for some years now having made a few tweaks to suit my own tastes. I definitely stand on the Mary Berry side where alcohol in cakes/desserts is concerned and frankly more is more. Delia suggests a quite stingy 45ml brandy while Mary goes for 150ml so I’m edging up towards Mary’s measure!
To get started I like to soak the fruit for 5-7 days before baking the cake. Delia only soaks hers overnight though so if you are short on time, overnight is fine. And some cooks swear by a month or more soaking so start it whenever you have the time. For readers in the UK, Asda currently have 500g bags of dried fruit on 3 for 2 promotion so thats my cue to get soaking fruit.
Enough for an 8″/20cm round fruit cake
70g glacé cherries, rinsed, dried and finely chopped
30g mixed peel, finely chopped
Weigh the fruit into a large plastic food storer (or I like to use a pyrex glass roaster that comes with a plastic lid so more fruit is in contact with the bottom to soak up more brandy) checking for any stray stalks that may still be attached to the fruit. Sprinkle over the brandy, stirring to coat the fruit then cover.
Store at room temperature away from direct sunlight and give the fruit a stir everyday until you are ready to make your cake.